Hurricane Matthew Updates
Reconstruction after a natural disaster is not instantaneous and this is ever present two weeks after Hurricane Matthew. Beginning when Matthew made landfall on October 8, the American Red Cross has continuously provided shelter, food, relief supplies, and hope for the more then 1,100 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida who are still seeking refuge. Since Matthew first threatened, over 5,400 disaster workers, 279 response vehicles, 25 partner-supported kitchens, and truckloads of supplies have been mobilized and continue to be utilized. Response vehicles are still moving through the hardest-hit areas as conditions permit. The nation watched as the storm hit these four states, but what they have not seen is the Red Cross’ response weeks after Matthew has left the minds of so many.
Helping those affected rebuild their lives is not an easy or cheap task. Hurricane Matthew response is projected to cost anywhere from $24-$28 million dollars for the United States alone. To date, only $8.1 million has been been raised and designated to Hurricane Matthew. The Red Cross depends on donations for immediate relief, making any and all donations imperative. To make a monetary donation, simply call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text “MATTHEW” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. The Red Cross works hard to honor donor intent and therefore, donors wishing to support Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts should request that their aid be sent directly to this cause by simply choosing the option when donating. Donations go towards the costs of providing food, shelter, blankets, emotional support, health services, relief supplies, and immediate casework support, as well as things like logistics, staff, and technology. The relief in Haiti is estimated to cost more than $4 million. As of now, the American Red Cross has approximately $400,000 specifically for Haiti and the Caribbean. Responding to Hurricane Matthew is something that can only be done with the help of the public. Donations can be made at redcross.org, by calling 1-800-REDCROSS, or by simply texting “MATTHEW” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
However, money isn’t the only thing needed in the face of a disaster. Hurricane Matthew caused 110 blood drives in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia to be canceled, resulting in nearly 3,500 blood and platelet donations going uncollected. The American Red Cross has such an urgent need for blood and platelets that an emergency call has been issued urging all eligible donors to give as soon as possible. Blood platelets are often used in the treatment of cancer but they must be transfused within five days of donation meaning they are always in demand. Blood products were sent to areas the were anticipated to be impacted by the storm ahead of time however, more blood and platelets are needed to ensure patients get proper treatment. As of now, blood products are being sent directly to hospitals as fast as donations come in. Appointments to donate blood can be made using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting redcrossblood.org, or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.
As the relief process continues, the Red Cross has begun helping those affected by connecting them to the services and resources they need which includes limited financial assistance for those who qualify. Federal and state programs support short-term housing, as people look to re-establish some sort of normalcy and an everyday routine. At this point, the Red Cross has begun to provide casework which includes talking to people individually (providing them an opportunity to share their needs with trained caseworkers), follow-up services, and financial assistance (for those who qualify). The Red Cross encourages all who have been affected to register with FEMA (a federal assistance organization). Those who do not meet the requirements to receive federal assistance can look for the Red Cross to provide limited financial assistance that will ensure they have access to additional support. Those who feel that they may qualify for Red Cross financial assistance should call 800-768-8048.
The American Red Cross continues to aid in the recovery from Hurricane Matthew even after it has slipped out of the public eye. Nevertheless, the Red Cross is not working by itself in these efforts and has partnered with over 15 different organizations to aid in the restoration of Matthew’s damage. As the flooding continues to go down and more areas can be reached, the relief and recovery efforts will continue. For the days, weeks, and months following Hurricane Matthew the American Red Cross has been, and will continue to be present.